Connect with us

Coronavirus

Germans, Austrians line up for shots as COVID cases soar across Europe

Published

on

3/3
Germans, Austrians line up for shots as COVID cases soar across Europe
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A police officer checks the vaccination status of a shopper at the entrance of a store after the Austrian government imposed a lockdown on the roughly two million people who are not fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) i

2/3

By Emma Thomasson and Francois Murphy

BERLIN/VIENNA (Reuters) -Germans and Austrians are rushing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as infections soar across Europe and governments impose restrictions on the unvaccinated, figures showed on Wednesday.

Germany and Austria have among the lowest rates of vaccination in western Europe and are now the epicentre of a

new wave of the pandemic as winter grips the continent.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week said he was cautious about rising cases in Europe, warning of gathering “storm clouds” of infections.

Britain has had much higher case loads than the rest of western Europe since the summer, but those rates are coming down just as they are rising in central and eastern Europe.

The German health ministry said 436,000 people received a shot on Tuesday, including 300,000 boosters, the highest number in about three months. Queues have been forming at vaccination centres around the country.

“It is a sign that many citizens have recognised the need,”

government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said. But he added that the vaccination rate was still not high enough.

About 65% of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated and about 68% of Germany’s, well behind the Netherlands and countries like Italy and Spain that were much harder hit in the early waves of the pandemic.

The Netherlands said it was running short of COVID-19 tests as it registered more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row, the highest since the pandemic began.

Sabine Dittmar, health expert for Germany’s Social Democrats, said she hoped 1.4 million people could be vaccinated a day if shots are administered at companies, by family doctors and by mobile vaccine teams, as well as at vaccination centres.

DEMANDING PROOF

In Austria, the number of vaccines administered daily has jumped to about 73,000 in the last week, from around 20,000 in October, official data showed, although the vast majority of those were boosters rather than first shots.

Austria has ordered a lockdown on the roughly two million people who are not fully vaccinated. It has one of the highest infection rates on the continent, with a seven-day incidence of 925 per 100,000 people, compared with 320 in Germany. Its total death toll from the pandemic stands at 11,848

Neighbouring Switzerland, which has not imposed restrictions on the unvaccinated, has had less success with a new vaccination drive – it only persuaded 35,000 to get their first shot in the last week.

Parts of Germany – including the capital Berlin – are demanding proof of vaccination or recent recovery from COVID-19 for all indoor leisure activities, a restriction that could be extended nationally at a meeting of officials on Thursday.

Germany also plans to force people using public transport or attending workplaces to provide a negative COVID-19 test, or proof of recovery or vaccination.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday described Germany’s coronavirus situation as dramatic.

Germany reported 52,826 new infections on Wednesday – a jump of a third compared with a week ago and another daily record, while 294 people died, bringing the total death toll to 98,274.

“It is not too late to opt for a first vaccine shot,” Merkel told a congress of German city mayors. “Everyone who gets vaccinated protects himself and others. And if enough people get vaccinated that is the way out of the pandemic.”

The Czech Republic will ban people who have not been vaccinated from access to public events and services from Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Wednesday, and negative tests will no longer be recognised.

The restrictions, to be approved by cabinet on Thursday, come after a spike in new infections to a record 22,479 on Tuesday.

Slovakia reported a record number of cases on Wednesday, and Hungary and Poland had the highest numbers in more than six months. Sweden plans to introduce COVID-19 vaccine passes at indoor events where more than 100 people attend.

Coronavirus

China slashes COVID quarantine time for international travellers

Published

on

2/2

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People line up at a nucleic acid testing station, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Beijing, China, June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

2/2

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China on Tuesday slashed the quarantine time for inbound travellers by half in a major easing of one of the world’s strictest COVID-19 curbs, which have deterred travel in and out of the country since 2020.

Quarantine at centralised facilities has been cut to seven days from 14, and subsequent at-home health monitoring has been reduced to three days from seven, the National Health Commission said.

The latest guidelines from the health authority also eased quarantine requirements for close contacts of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

China has cautiously eased its COVID curbs on cross-border travellers in recent months, with health officials saying the shorter incubation period of the Omicron variant allows for an adjustment of quarantine periods.

The Chinese capital Beijing in recent months has already reduced the quarantine period at centralised facilities to 10 days from 14.

China, last month, also removed some COVID-19 test requirements for people flying in from countries such as the United States.

“We believe that today’s announcement will be welcomed by the American business community,” the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai said on its official WeChat account.

The quarantine adjustment will make it easier for companies to bring staff to China, and for Chinese companies and their executives to visit the United States, AmCham said.

Stock markets rose in Hong Kong and the mainland, with the Hang Seng Index reversing losses and ticking up roughly 0.4% and the CSI300 Index gaining 0.7%.

Shares in mainland tourism companies jumped more than 5%.

China’s aviation regulator said this month it had been in touch with some countries to steadily increase the number of flights in the second half of 2022.

IN THE CLEAR

Beijing and Shanghai reported on Tuesday no new local COVID infections, the first time both cities were in the clear simultaneously since late February, after months of fighting their worst-ever outbreaks.

The milestone for the two cities, achieved on Monday, came after their daily caseloads dropped to single digits over the past week, allowing Shanghai to gradually resume eating in at restaurants and Beijing to reopen some leisure venues including the Universal Beijing Resort.

Shanghai Communist Party chief Li Qiang declared on Saturday that authorities had “won the war to defend Shanghai” against COVID-19.

The Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) Co’s Shanghai Disney Resort said on Tuesday that it would reopen the Disneyland theme park on June 30; it had been shut for more than three months.

Authorities, however, were adamant the government’s so-called dynamic zero COVID policy, which aims at blocking flare-ups from spreading as they crop up, remains in place.

Beijing would “fight against any new outbreaks at the outset and with speed and resolutely break their transmission channel”, Cai Qi, the city’s top Communist Party chief, was quoted as saying in a report by the party-backed Beijing Daily.

Earlier on Monday, the Beijing Daily apparently misquoted Cai as saying the city would maintain its COVID control effort for “the next five years”.

The newspaper afterwards removed the reference and its chief, Zhao Jingyun, said it was an error but that did not prevent some suspicion among the public.

“Surely it wasn’t a mistake! It’s meant to gauge public opinion!” said a user of the Weibo (NASDAQ:WB) social media platform.

Another Weibo user said even if it was a mistake, “at least the higher-ups are now aware of how helpless we all feel and how we detest the current counter-epidemic policies”.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

Beijing, Shanghai both free of new local COVID cases for first time in months

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People line up at a nucleic acid testing station, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Beijing, China, June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s capital, Beijing, and the financial hub of Shanghai reported on Tuesday no new local COVID infections, the first time both cities were in the clear at the same time since late February, after months of fighting their worst-ever outbreaks.

The milestone for the two cities, achieved on Monday, came after their daily caseloads dropped to single digits over the past week, allowing Shanghai to gradually resume eating in at restaurants and Beijing to reopen some leisure venues including the Universal Beijing Resort.

Shanghai Communist Party chief Li Qiang declared on Saturday that authorities had “won the war to defend Shanghai” against COVID-19, following a crushing two-month citywide lockdown that was finally lifted in early June.

Authorities, however, remained wary and were adamant that the government’s so-called dynamic zero COVID policy, which aims at blocking flare-ups from spreading as they crop up, remains in place.

Beijing would “fight against any new outbreaks at the outset and with speed and resolutely break their transmission channel”, Cai Qi, the city’s top Communist Party chief, was quoted as saying in a report by the party-backed Beijing Daily.

The city would build “a solid virus barrier”, Cai was quoted as saying on Monday.

Earlier on Monday, the Beijing Daily apparently misquoted Cai as saying the city would maintain its COVID control effort for “the next five years”.

The newspaper afterwards removed the reference and its chief, Zhao Jingyun, said it was an error but that did not prevent some suspicion among the public.

“Surely it wasn’t a mistake! It’s meant to gauge public opinion!” said a user of the Weibo (NASDAQ:WB) social media platform.

Another Weibo user said even if it was a mistake, “at least the higher-ups are now aware of how helpless we all feel and how we detest the current counter-epidemic policies”.

Despite easing COVID restrictions in Beijing and Shanghai, their combined 47 million residents have been told to go through COVID testing every few days, to maintain access to public spaces and transport.

Elsewhere in mainland China, a total of 22 domestically transmitted infections were reported for June 27, including five in the southern technology hub Shenzhen.

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

U.S. appeals court vacates federal vaccine mandate pending additional hearing

Published

on


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A resident over 50 years old and immunocompromised receives a second booster shot of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in Waterford, Michigan, U.S., April 8, 2022. REUTERS/Emily Elconin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court panel said on Monday it would convene a full panel to reconsider President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring civilian federal employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and set aside the order pending that hearing.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which is based in New Orleans, had reinstated the vaccine order in April by a 2-1 vote after it was blocked by a district court judge in January. [L2N2W530Z]

The court said on Monday that it would reconsider the case en banc, which means it will be heard by a larger panel of judges. No date was given for the hearing. Pending that hearing, the court said it would vacate the April ruling, which means that Biden’s order cannot be enforced.

Biden said in September he would require about 3.5 million government workers to get vaccinated by Nov. 22, barring a religious or medical accommodation, or face discipline or firing. Despite the legal fight, more than 90% of federal workers were vaccinated by December, the White House said last year.

The president’s vaccine and mask mandates have faced stiff opposition, led by Republicans, which have turned public safety measures endorsed by disease experts into a political and legal battle in the United States.

The United States passed the milestone of 1 million dead from the coronavirus in May. More than 250 people still die of the disease daily, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Continue Reading

Trending

©2021-2022 Letizo All Rights Reserved